WADA Provides Update on Status of Russia Testing

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) published a status update on its Russian testing program following the declaration in November 2015 that RUSADA was non-compliant. Between February 15, 2016 and May 29, 2016, the United Kingdom Anti-Doping (UKAD) organization conducted 455 drug tests were conducted on Russian athletes. However, 736 tests were declined or cancelled due to a multitude of reasons.

Of those tested, there were 52 adverse analytical findings, or 11% of the total tests conducted. Most of the positive tests, 49, were related to Meldonium. This is the same drug that Maria Sharapova had been found to be taking.

The WADA update indicates that there were significant limitations to conduct proper testing during this program including low frequency of whereabouts updates, athletes using military cities where special permission is needed to gain access, and lack of competition schedules or details/locations of the events.

The Doping Control Officers (DCOs) reported difficulty getting access to multiple events, including the National Weightlifting Championships. In this instance, the events were held in cities with restricted access due to ongoing civil conflicts resulting in service providers declining test requests.

This update doesn’t sound good for Russia in general. It will be interesting to see what WADA, the IOC and other governing bodies decide to do about this developing situation.